Michigan Democrats — August 1, 2012

UPDATED: FIVE fake Democrats Michiganders should watch out for in the primary next Tuesday


Dude, you ain’t no Democrat

UPDATE 1: I have updated this post to include more information about Cody Bailey. I hemmed and hawed over whether or not to include him in the “fake Dems” category. In the end, I did not. I have, however, included additional information about why he MAY be, why I think so, and why he’s a bad choice for Michigan.

UPDATE 2: Third and fourth and fifth fake Democrats have come to my attention – Susie Hughes, a tea partier from Muskegon, her husband John and Mike Eller, a John Bircher in Ypsilanti. See below.

UPDATE 3: I have officially moved Cody Bailey into the fake Dems category. See my new post about his candidacy HERE.

There are two FOUR FIVE people running for office who Democrats should watch out for when they vote in the primary next Tuesday. One of them, Bill Roberts, is a LarouchePAC candidate who wants to impeach President Obama. Another is Jim Fink, running for circuit court judge in Washtenaw county on the nonpartisan ballot but who has been attempting to cuddle up to Democrats for months now. Husband and wife Susie and John Hughes from Muskegon are numbers three and four and Mike Eller, a John Bircher from Ypsilanti is the fifth.

Before I get into this, I want to be clear that I did not set out to identify Conservadems or Blue Dog Democrats — so called “Democrats in Name Only (DINOs)” — for this piece. There are plenty of them in Michigan and I received information from a number of folks on people like:

  • Glenn Anderson in MI-13 who has some very sketchy, non-Democratic votes under his belt.

    UPDATE: I commend your attention to the comments where my friend Kevin Shopshire gives a very persuasive argument on behalf of Rep. Anderson. I have a lot of respect for Kevin so his comments carry a lot of weight, in my opinion.

  • Cody Bailey, an Anderson protégé who until this past year was very clearly a Romney Republican who posted countless anti-Democrat/pro-Republican comments on his Facebook page leading up to 2011. Bailey has endorsements from obviously conservative, pro-Business, anti-union groups like the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Associated Builders and Contractors, the Michigan Retail Association, Michigan Restaurant Association, and others. He’s also got the DeVos-funded, pro-charter schools Great Lakes Education Project sending out mailers in support of him and attacking his opponent, David Knezek. Bailey’s own attacks on Knezek including suggesting that he’s not a military veteran (he is) have raised a LOT of eyebrows and have people questioning whether or not he’s really a Democrat, particularly since this is considered a fairly safe seat for the Dems. Frankly, Bailey nearly made the cut to be included in the list of “fake Dems”.

    I have officially moved Cody Bailey to the category of fake Democrat. See my new post about him HERE.

  • Liesa Liss who, as I wrote about last month, sides more with Republicans on women’s reproductive rights issues than she does with Democrats. Despite the fact that she is a nurse, the Michigan Nurses Association has endorsed her opponent, Jon Switalski (Switalski’s website is HERE.)
  • Kurt Haskell running for Congress in MI-07 who is convinced that the federal government was involved in the Underwear Bomber fiasco.

These people may not fit into the category of progressive Democrats but, with the possible exception of Cody Bailey, they are Democrats. They all have progressive opponents to choose from and I encourage people to investigate them fully before voting in the primary next Tuesday.

So, let’s take a look at two FOUR truly fake Democrats.

First, let’s take a look at Bill Roberts who is running in MI-11 for the seat being vacated by Thad McCotter. I don’t really need to say much about Roberts other than to show you this screenshot from his website:

That’s right, a Democrat running on a platform that includes impeaching President Obama. He has even carried around one of those hideous Obama-with-a-Hitler-moustache posters:

Roberts was asked about the appropriateness of comparing Obama to Hitler and working to obtain signatures on petitions with a photo of Obama with a Hitler-like mustache. “Yes, I’ve done that,” Roberts said about collecting the signatures.

“It’s a very honest assessment of the president’s personality,” Roberts said of the photos of Obama with the Hitler mustache. “Fascism starts somewhere, in the commitment to saying that there are certain lives that are unworthy of life and that it’s more important to have a policy of austerity and propping up the banking cartel.

Please, if you are a Democrat, steer clear of Bill Roberts. He is no Democrat and no friend to those of us who are. Instead, give your vote to Dr. Syed Taj who has the support of the Michigan Democratic Party.

The other person to watch out for is Jim Fink who is running for 22nd Circuit Court in Washtenaw County. I first learned about Fink at a meeting of the Western Washtenaw Dems. Although Fink himself wasn’t there, he sent along a relative to sing his praises. He has since showed up at the Ann Arbor Dems’ summer picnic, participated in the Washtenaw County Democrats’ candidates forum, and even tried to get the Washtenaw County Dems to put his information on their website.

That absurd idea was quickly shot down.

Why? Because Jim Fink is no Democrat and the WCDP will not use its resources to support a Republican.

At the candidates’ forum, an anonymous person placed a one-page fact sheet (pdf) about Jim Fink on the seats of attendees. The sheet describes Fink’s thousands of dollars of donations to Republicans, his anti-Choice position and his anti-gay stances, all of which go against the grain of true Democrats.

When he was asked about the sheet at the forum, he had this to say:

He began by joking that if he ever reaches a point when he needs someone to write his biography, he might hire whoever wrote the handout. There are things in it that Fink said he didn’t know or had forgotten about… Those who know him also know that he’s been associated with the Republican Party, Fink said. If you didn’t know that, you could read the handout, he joked.

Although he is running in a non-partisan election, it’s clear that he’s trying to leverage the resources of Democrats in Washtenaw County to advance his candidacy as a way to fool voters into thinking he is supported by the local party.

He’s not.

Jim Fink is clearly talented and has impressive endorsements, but he is no Democrat no matter how much he tries to fool people about this. Fortunately, Democrats in Washtenaw have three other very worthy choices: Erane Washington, Carol Kuhnke, and Doug McClure. I know all three of these people and they are all solid alternatives to not-Democrat Jim Fink.

Know of any truly fake Dems running for office in Michigan? Let’s hear about them in the comments.

UPDATE: Mary V. alerted me to two additional fake Democrats — Susie Hughes from Muskegon who is a tea partier running as a Democrat for County Commission. Her campaign is being run from her Facebook page which says absolutely NOTHING about her tea party interests. However, the Mackinac Center lists her and her husband as the heads of the Muskegon Patriots and after you read THIS and then THIS, it’s clear we have the right woman.

Her husband John is running for Muskegon Township trustee, also as a Democrat.

UPDATE 2: Mark Maynard of the awesome MarkMaynard.com points out another fake Dem, Mike Eller, a John Bircher running for Ypsilanti City Council. Full details at the link.

  • For those of you who don’t get MIRS, the Great Lakes Education Project – which includes the likes of Betsy DeVos and Greg McNeilly – had a pro-Bailey flyer, accusing Knezek of supporting more taxes. Quite suspicious. Not saying he’s a fake Democrat, but they’re leaving many people to suspect that.

    Aside from Bailey’s doings, I’ve seen great things about Knezek, so here’s hoping for a decisive victory for him!

  • Good call including Jim Fink in the list of proto-Democrats. I’ve heard third-hand that Jim has a reputation as a Republican, trying to fly “non-partisan” under the radar of liberal Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. I actually know Jim personally (though distantly), and would be particularly troubled if there was better evidence of him having anti-LGBT positions. I sent an e-mail to his campaign manager today asking for more information. I will very happily pass along anything I get back from them. Thanks!

  • I agree with everything you wrote, but I’m going to have to disagree with your characterization of Sen. Glenn Anderson. I watch him on the Senate floor every session day, and you are simply wrong. I’m sure I don’t agree with every vote ha has made, considering that the Senate can vote on up to 3,000 items a year. I would like to know what votes he made that led you to single out a good Democrat.

    • Only Democrat to vote on an amendment to support Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisconsin) budget plan, which would dismantle Medicare as we know it and turn Medicaid into a block grant voucher program. [SB409’11]

      – Voted against our environment and to tie the hands of the MI DEQ by requiring multiple studies per year on such things as the cost of permits. [SB277, Roll Call 135]

      – Only Dem to vote in favor of allowing the state to collect interest on repayment of unemployment benefits paid to a person not entitled to them, even if it was the state agency’s fault! [SB612’09]

      – Voted against allowing a person to claim the homestead/principal property tax exemption at any time in the year when the property is acquired, rather than by May 1st. [HB5168’03]

      Anti-Children and Family Agenda:
      – Voted against prohibiting sexual intercourse between a corrections officer and a minor. [Amend. on SB1127’02]

      – Voted against an amendment that would have reduced class sizes in public schools. [HB4401’03]

      – Voted against funding for public schools in low-income areas, bill passed with bipartisan support [HB5452’05]

      – Voted to cut Medicaid eligibility for 19-and-20-year olds and caretaker relatives that are at or below 50% of the federal poverty levels. [SB838’06]

      – Only Democrat, joined with only one Republican, in voting against the anti-bullying policy that Matt Epling’s father supports to protect our children in schools. [HB4163’11]

      – Voted against additional funding for the Pure Michigan ad campaign.

      – Only Democrat to join with all Republicans in voting twice against eliminating the unethical practice of “insurance redlining.” [SB166’09]

      Joined Republicans in voting against the creation of a Regional Transit Authority on multiple occasions, even with provisions allowing communities to opt-out of the system. Also voted against provisions to protect workers from mass layoffs and privatization. [HB4072’03, HB4073’03, HB5523’01, HB5497’01]

      • Wow. You really went in the weeds to get these. I’ll go through a few. OK, I’m in the Senate Journal, so for SB 409 (11) who made the amendment?
        – I have to assume you mean Senator Johnson’s amendment that was defeated 16-21. That bill passed 35-2. Vey controversial.
        – Two other Democrats joined him on SB 227. Plus, the bill requires the DEQ to The bill requires the DEQ to develop metrics; it doesn’t say anything about “tying the hands of the DEQ.”
        – I don’t see where SB 612 (09) says it has to be paid back with interest even it was not the fault of the individual. In fact, it says the opposite.
        – You went back to 2003 for HB 5168? The vote was 106-3, and he was one of the 106.
        – Really, 1172 from 2002? OK, it passed 93-6 with Rep. Anderson of the 93. Again, very controversial.
        – HB 4401 of 2003 is an appropriations bill, and those go through so many amendments it’s impossible to find the amendment you latched onto. Plus, it went through a conference committee.
        – HB 5452 is also an appropriations bill that never made it out of the House that passed 79-23 with bipartisan opposition. In fact, he was joined by some very liberal Democrats, like Kathleen Law, Alma Smith, Steve Tobocman and Hoon-Yung Hopgood.

        I stand by what I said. Like I said before, the Senate votes on up to 3,000 items a year, and this is what you found to back up that claim? I’m glad I canvased in 2010 for Sen. Anderson.

        • I have updated the post to encourage people to read your comments. As I said in the post, this was information that people sent to me. I did not do the original research. I’m happy to see folks push back if they disagree with it and my mind is open to other perspectives.

          • I really need to add my concern about the info on Glenn Anderson. I worked with Glenn for years when he was a councilman in Westland and I was on several city boards, including the library board and the historical commission. He was nothing but fair and completely honest, and I was thrilled that he made it to the Michigan senate. I won’t say we always agreed on everything, but that’s the nature of the game, and I always found him willing to consider all viewpoints.

            My daughter, who lives in his district (and is far more liberal than I am), is working hard to get him elected. I haven’t followed his actions completely but I believe he’s for strong unions and I know for a fact that he works hard for his constituency and is as concerned for the poor and middle class as most of us here are.

            I would hate to see his name muddied without some background on his votes. (So thank you for that, Kevin.)

          • MSULiberal

            Only Democrat to vote with Republicans in 2011 against an amendment that would have repealed the state pension tax if the federal Paul Ryan budget was adopted. Several Republicans voted for this while Sen. Anderson and the majority of Republicans essentially voiced support for the Ryan budget: http://michiganvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=574022.

            Only Democrat to vote with Republicans in 2010 in favor of a resolution to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to recognize that “every person has a right to provide for his or her own health care,” and to prohibit any federal (but not state) law or rule that would directly or indirectly “compel any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system.” This was clearly an anti-ObamaCare resolution. Sen. Anderson has stated on the record now that he supports ObamaCare. http://michiganvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=476797

        • MSULiberal

          Nitpicking is fine, but support for the Paul Ryan budget is enough to out him as way too conservative for most Democrats.

  • RMcLachlan917

    Would really like to see factual content in your smear piece. Knezek clearly calls for a tax increase in his “policy paper”. More troubling, though, is your regurgitation of the statement that Cody Bailey has questioned Knezek’s military service. NEVER HAPPENED. Show me one instance where the Cody Bailey campaign has ever suggested Mr. Knezek did not serve.

    • I consider it telling when defenders of candidates call factual posts that shine a light on their candidate a “smear piece”. Very telling, indeed.

      • RMcLachlan917

        Um, yeah. We are not, nor have we ever, denied any of the so-called “Republican” past of Mr. Bailey. However, when you leap to a label that is in and of itself untrue, misleading, and without basis in fact, then, yes, it is a “smear piece”. Telling? Yes. Reveals your obvious bias without bothering to research factual information. Your “guy” clearly states in his now infamous “policy papers” that he advocates for the extension of the sales tax to services in our great state. That, sir, is a tax increase. As for the completely manufactured comments accusing Mr. Bailey of questioning Mr. Knezek’s military service, I again ask you, or any of your kind comrades, to provide the proof that such a sentiment was ever uttered. You cannot do so, because frankly, it doesn’t exist. I do give you props, though, for continuing to pivot and divert attention away from your own guys’ misgivings.

  • DallasGoldBug

    If you want to know about Kurt Haskell download this court document. http://wellaware1.com/Haskell_Chiarini.pdf then you will find out who he really is.

  • you’re damn right about Bill Roberts.. This son of a bitch better watch his ass..so won’t be voting for him no matter what party he claims to represent..

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  • Derek Aktion

    Maureen Stapleton in the gerrymandered new 6th State Rep District has received $160,000 from goups associated with former Washington DC public schools head Michelle Rhee.

    The district apparently designed to get rid of Rashida Tlaib. And it looks like Stapleton, a “Democrat” dressed in Republican money, may be able to buy the seat with that much cash. Shit.

    • I noticed that she had been endorsed by Students First. smh…

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